TIFFIN, Ohio — For just the second time in school history, Hillsdale is 13-0.
Recovering from an ice-cold first half, the Chargers came back from an early nine-point deficit to post a 75-68 victory Saturday afternoon against Tiffin in Ohio. Hillsdale, who has never been 14-0 in its history, stands tied for first place in the GLIAC South Division with Wayne State with a 7-0 record. Incidentally, the Warriors are the next opponent for the Chargers, Thursday night inside Hillsdale’s Jesse Philips Arena.
Hillsdale scored just 21 points in the first half, missing 21 of its first 28 shots. But the team got that turned around in a big way in the second half, torching the Dragons for 54 points, taking its first lead four minutes into the second half and never looking back. After trailing 29-21 at halftime, Hillsdale put 20 points on the scoreboard in the first nine minutes of the second half.
Much like several of its conference games this season, the Chargers faced a first-half deficit, but adjustments made by head coach John Tharp, along with improved execution and shooting, has pulled the team out of those holes. Hillsdale drained eight 3-pointers in the second half of the game, after making just one in the first half. Although Tiffin stayed within striking distance throughout the second half, the Chargers were able to close out the home team thanks to good free throw shooting down the stretch. Hillsdale was held to just one field goal in the game’s final 2:10, but the team went 9-for-12 from the charity stripe in the final two minutes.
Hillsdale held a 20-12 advantage on Tiffin in free-throw line scoring, and it outrebounded the Dragons 44-38 in the game.
Juniors Brent Eaton (22, pictured) and Tyler Gerber (20) combined for 42 points in the game to lead the Charger offense. Both players made three 3-point field goals, all of those coming in the second half. Gerber also had four assists in the game. Redshirt-freshman Tim Dezelski had a strong impact on the game off the bench, contributing six points, nine rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes of play.
Wayne State will come into Thursday’s game at Hillsdale fresh off a 91-68 victory over previously top-ranked Findlay. The last time a Hillsdale men’s basketball team was 13-0 was in 2001-02. The team was ranked 25th in the nation after that 13th win, but the Chargers have a chance to move up from their current No. 6 position in the NCAA Division II Top 25 poll, by virtue of No. 1 Findlay’s loss. Sixth is the highest the Chargers have ever appeared in a top 25 poll.